Merchant Navy Courses In India: Eligibility, Careers, Scope & Salary

Merchant Navy is one of the most coveted courses in our country. Giving an opportunity for globe trotting and experiencing a wonderful life over the water, merchant navy offers commercial service, unlike the navy. Owing to its rich remuneration and high perks, merchant navy is attracting large chunk of the millennials. Being an integral part of the international trade, merchant navy helps in binding the international trade relations globally. The entire import-export business is controlled by the merchant navy, thus making them a vital part of the nation’s economy. Wander-lust’s dream, merchant navy offers you the opportunity to explore places yet enjoy the work.

What is Merchant Navy?

Merchant navy is a huge group of vessels carrying high volumes of goods from one country to another over the sea route. Nearly 9/10th portion of the global trade takes places through the sea route, thus increasing the importance of merchant navy. An example of merchant navy company is Maersk Line. This is one of the biggest job providing sectors in the various disciplines like charter, port, managers, etc.

Skills required to be a merchant Navy

  • Analytical thinking skills form a major part of the in-demand skills needed. Since the job requires to deal with taking real time quick decisions, analytical skills come handy.
  • Highly attentive and critical to small details will help in gaining an edge over the competitors.
  • Background of engineering is an important skill needed to become merchant navy
  • Good communication skills, both verbal and non-verbal enhance the skill sets.
  • Someone who is highly motivated and looks forward to take an initiative is appreciated.
  • Basic knowledge about computer and handheld devices is an added plus.

Eligibility criteria

  • Student who has cleared class 12th with PCM (Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics) as their major subjects.
  • Bachelor candidates, both male or female.
  • Myopia or heteromyopia only up to 2.5 is allowed
  • Three tier admission procedure is followed: written test followed by elimination round and mains entrance exam
  • Final stages include interview and physical check-up
  • Trained in courses related t ship-training where the aspirants are trained about vessel handling.
  • Extended holiday periods are on offer. Since the work demands to be on the sea during most of the year, a long holiday of 2 months is provided to enjoy the family time.

Advantages of being in Merchant Navy

  • Unlike the 9 to 5 job of your neighbour, merchant navy. It is a shift job, 2 shifts of 4 hours each.
  • It is still one of the highest paying, tax free service that lets you enjoy the globe-trotting.
  • Highly prestigious job as you get the chance to become the captain at a very young age. Hence a lot of respect from the society.
  • Challenging and adventurous, perfect job for the youth with high enthusiasm and vigour.
  • Highly specialized skill development. Since you work across the various unique domains, you end up possessing unique skill sets.
  • Improved standard of living and improved life style is what you take away. A disciplined and punctual life intended towards continuous growth and satisfaction.
  • Since the work is challenging, you will develop high critical thinking skills during your tenure as merchant navy.

Aspirants interested in merchant navy can either take up a small course or be enrolled in colleges to complete graduation after 12th Students after 12th can enrol in courses and then apply for merchant navy program.

List of Merchant Navy Courses In India

1. Diploma Marine Engineering

Can be availed after diploma. It is a diploma course which trains in sea-training. Duration of the course is 2 years. The candidate, after completion of the course is eligible to be a Marine Engineer across the ships of the world.

  • Age limit: Not older than 28 years.
  • Education background: Diploma holders are eligible for the course who have scored beyond 50% in the final year.

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2. 5 GP Rating Course

If you wish to join the marine as the deck or the engine crew, 5 GP rating course is the perfect course. With a duration of not more than 6 months, it gives a quick exposure, it gives an early beginning. You can rise up the ladder of seniority with time, depending on your work.

  • Age limit: Between 17 to 25 years
  • Education background: Students who have passed 10th grade with not less than 40%.

3. Deck Rating Course

Even though 5 GP rating offers a holistic coverage of all the marine related courses, deck rating course is another entry to the merchant navy. Lasting not more than 6 months, it is a standalone course for the merchant navy enthusiasts.

  • Age limit: Between 17 to 25 years.
  • Education background: Students who have passed 10th grade
  • Medical requirements: Color Blindness is not accepted. Vision rule states eyesight criteria of 6/6

4. Engine Rating Course

Separate course for specialization of engine rating is also made accessible to the interested aspirants. With a duration of not more than 6 months, Engine Rating course intends to prepare the candidates about the maritime events.

  • Age limit: Within 17 to 25 years
  • Education background: Passed 10th
  • Medical requirements:
      • Not colour blind
      • Vision : 6/6

4. Saloon rating course

If you are interested in the catering department and wish to build a career in it, yet travel around the entire world, Saloon Rating course is perfect for you. Making you capable to be a responsible worker in the merchant navy, this 6 months course is highly recommended.

  • Age limit: Between 17 to 25 years.
  • Education background: Students who have passed 12th grade from an affiliated board. Few institutes also accept 10th passed students.
  • Medical requirements: Complete physical fitness is mandatory for this course.

5. NCV Course

Another course for the merchant navy aspirants, near costal voyage extends over 30 months. It is subdivided into two portions, academic training followed by 2 years of skill enhancement training on the sea.

  • Age limit: Between 17 to 25 years.
  • Education background: Students who have passed 10th grade can apply. If you have higher qualification, you are also eligible.
  • Medical requirements: Physical and mental fitness is mandatory as per medical norms.

6. Diploma in Nautical Science

The course is aimed at giving the required on-job skills training for the merchant navy. On clearing of the course, certification shall be provided, thus making you eligible for joining the merchant navy.

  • Age limit: Candidate beyond 25 years are not eligible.
  • Education background: Students who have passed 12th grade with PCM marks not below 60% with marks in English more than 50% in 12th and 10th.
  • Medical requirements: Mental and physical fitness is of utmost importance as per medical norms.

7. Electro Technical Officer Course

If you have an engineering background, then this the best course for you to get into merchant navy. ETO gives you an exposure about the electrical aspects of merchant navy and you stand a chance to be recruited as the electrical officer, thus being responsible for electrical gadgets in the vessel. Course duration is 6 months, followed by on-job skill development.

  • Age limit: Candidates till 35 years are eligible
  • Education background
    Background of electrical engineering or diploma.
    Students who have passed 12th grade with science subjects.

List of colleges providing merchant navy courses

1. Tolani Maritime Institute

Located in Pune, formed in 1998, it is the hub of aspirants of maritime engineering. The courses provided include:


  • Maritime Engineering
  • Nautical Engineering
  • Marine Engineering

Modular Courses

The college also provides distance learning courses tailored for NCV candidates as well as 12th passed students. Post Graduate course in Marine Engineering is one of the highlight distance learning courses.

2. Samundra Institute of Maritime Engineering

With state of the art infrastructure and a huge hub for the learners and innovators, the college has all the facilities needed for budding maritime engineers. Scenic beauty as well as highest quality of ambiance is maintained. Key facilities of the college include the real time simulators like Liquid Cargo Handling, Electronic Chart Display Information System, Engine Room and View Full Mission Bridge. Equipped with the best facilities and amenities, it provides one of the best launchpads o start your careers. Both long term as well as short term courses are offered. Long term courses include:

  • Deck Officer training
  • Tech in Marine Engineering
  • Graduate Marine Engineering.

Some of the short term courses include

  • Cargo Handling simulator
  • Oil Tanker familiarisation
  • Chemical tanker familiarisation


Founded in the year 2001, with an aim to guide the young talents to join merchant navy, shifted to Rajboug Campus in 2004. It offers only two streams namely B.Tech in Marine Engineering or BSc in Nautical Science. Being awarded as an outstanding institute by rating agencies, as well as by the Indian Government, it should be one of the top priorities among the list of colleges. It has also been a recipient of Best Maritime Institute award in 2015, thus making it stand out among the other list of colleges. To make the education realistic, MANET has in campus ship with an operational interior engine-room. The number of entry in each of the course is just 200, thus making the competition very tough.

  • IMU CET qualified candidates, who have completed Class 12th in PCM with an aggregate score of 60% are eligible.
  • The exam is followed by an interview and a final medical test to select the final students.
  • Age limit: No candidates above 25 years of age are eligible for admission in general category

The above list of institutes are one of the most hand-picked and relevant ones which provide excellent exposure. With an aim to foster the practical knowledge, a perfect bent of knowledge and skills are developed.

Marine Salary structure

Being one of the most lucrative jobs on offer, merchant navy offers different remuneration for engine side and deck side. For engine side, the salary starts with 30 thousand INR per month for an engine cadet along with free lodging. As the seniority and rank increases, the salary touches 8-10 lakh for a chief engineer.

For deck side, the starting salary is 15 thousand INR/month along with free lodging. The exponential growth in salary with the rank is evident as it increases to 10 Lakh INR/month as one reaches the rank of Master with due time. The salary also varies from company to company.

One of the major perks of being in merchant navy is possession of the highly valued certificate, ‘Certificate of Competency’ and as you grow higher in the rank, your chances of lateral hiring into Maritime Administration increases. An extended holiday of 2 months period allows you to enjoy life with your family.


The scope of merchant navy is ever growing. Like any other industry, the scope depends on the right institute which is chosen. More than 95% of the transport of the goods happen over the sea route. Merchant navy is one of the most secure profession which doesn’t get affected by the rising or falling global markets. Most important factor is merchant navy doesn’t get disrupted by the changing technology, hence the rate of attrition is very low.

Regarding the promotion in merchant navy, it depends on factors like clearing of the internal exams and available vacancy. It takes nearly 10 years to become chief engineer or 5-6 years to become chief navy officer.

Merchant Navy Course Frequently Asked Questions

  • Which is the best course for joining into Merchant Navy?

There are many different courses, from five to seven courses and you should be able to pick one that suits your education qualification and age as well.

  • What is the minimum and maximum age limit for joining into Merchant Navy?

In most of the courses, the minimum age is 17 years and the maximum age is 25 years. But for Diploma in Marine engineering, the maximum age limit is 28 years. Also, for Electro Technical Officer Course, you will be allowed to apply till you become 35 years old. So, make sure that your age also matches with the course for which you are applying.

  • What is the durable for the course for Merchant Navy?

The duration of your course will depend on the course you are picking. Usually, the course duration is between six months to two years.

  • What is the starting salary after I finish my Merchant Navy course?

Your salary in the merchant navy will be decided by the post in which you are appointed. For a trainee cadet, the salary is going to be Rs 25,000 per month in the starting and that can increase up to Rs 80,000. If you are appointed as a chief officer, your starting salary is going to be between Rs 4,00,000 and Rs 6,00,000 per month. The Captain of the ship earns the highest salary.

  • What is the minimum qualification to get into Merchant Navy?

If you wish to join Merchant Navy, you should have at least 10th standard or 12th standard, or anything equivalent to it. Depending on the course you are choosing, the minimum qualification varies.

  • Do we have any good colleges or institutes in India for Merchant Navy course?

There are many top colleges and institutes in India that offer you Merchant Navy course. The fee structure is going to be different for each college and not all of them offer you all the different courses in Merchant Navy. So, if you are having any specific requirement regarding it, then you should check the college whether they offer the course or not.

  • Are the job opportunities good after completion of the course?

Merchant Navy recruits people every year, but your skills and your experience can play a very important role in it. You will be able to fetch a good job with good salary only when you have good qualification and knowledge of the subject.

Final Words

To all the aspiring students who wish to start their career in merchant navy, gear up and build the best out of your career by pursuing any of the best courses listed in our website. Merchant navy is one of the most sought after jobs and its career growth is one of the most excellent ones.

With a wide potential to handle multi-functional roles in the later stage of your career, it gives a wide spectrum of training.

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